Reading to babies and toddlers is a great way to bond with young children and provide them with many developmental benefits. Not only does it foster a love of books and reading at an early age, but it also helps develop important cognitive, social and emotional skills. In this blog we explore the benefits of reading to babies and toddlers and give advice on how to get the most out of this important activity. First, reading to babies and toddlers helps develop their language skills. Babies develop the ability to hear and distinguish different sounds, which means they are ready to learn language from an early age. When you read aloud to a toddler, you introduce them to different words and sentence structures, which helps develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills. You can read to your baby even in the womb, because studies have shown that babies can hear and recognize sounds as early as 23 weeks of pregnancy. Recording a story onto Jaspar and playing it to your bump could be a great way to help you and your baby with bonding with you as well as soothing them with your voice.
As your child grows and develops, reading together can help support their early reading skills. This includes phonological awareness (the ability to hear and process sounds in words), print awareness (understanding that print has meaning) and letter awareness (recognizing letters and their sounds). By engaging in reading activities such as pointing to words and letters, saying words together and asking questions about the story, you can support these important early reading skills. In addition to developing language and literacy, reading to babies and toddlers can have a positive impact on their cognitive development. Research has shown that children who are read to early have better cognitive skills, such as memory, attention and problem-solving skills. Reading together also gives your child a great opportunity to learn about the world around them, including different cultures, places and experiences. Reading to a toddler can also promote social and emotional development. Sitting down to read with your child provides special bonding time, helping to strengthen your relationship with them. It also gives your child a chance to learn empathy and feelings because they can relate to the characters in the story and learn about different emotions and perspectives. So how can you get the most out of reading to your little ones? Here are some tips.
1. Choose age appropriate books - For babies and toddlers, choose books with simple and repetitive text, bright and colourful illustrations and sturdy pages. As your child grows, you can introduce more complex books with longer stories and more detailed illustrations.
2. Read with facial expressions - Use different sounds and inflections to bring the story to life and keep your child's attention.
3. Ask questions - Ask your child about the story and encourage them to interact with the book. This could include asking them to point to different objects, make animal sounds, or predict what might happen next in the story.
4. Make it fun - make reading a fun and enjoyable activity for you and your child. Use props like dolls or stuffed animals to act out the story, or make up your own silly stories together. 5. Read regularly - Read your daily routine. This can include reading before bed, during meals or whenever you have a free moment.
In conclusion, reading to babies and toddlers offers many developmental benefits and is a great way to bond with young children. By participating in this important activity early, you can support your child's language and reading skills, cognitive development, and social and emotional growth. So grab a book, curl up and let the adventures begin!